This Hertz promotion offers $250 in travel credits – but it won’t go as far as you think

Jul 15, 2020

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At TPG, we paused traveling to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Local and federal governments around the globe are now debating the appropriate levels of isolation and distancing. Before booking that next trip, we recommend you talk to your doctor, follow health officials’ guidance and research local travel restrictions. TPG is continuing to publish deals, reviews and general travel news to inform and prepare you for that trip, whether it is next month or next year.

For many U.S. residents itching to travel but wary of the ongoing effects of the pandemic, a summer road trip closer to home may be the more likely solution. If you don’t have a car, that means renting one – and maximizing points, miles and cash to get the best deal possible.

While many travel companies are struggling to stay afloat during these unprecedented times, some are doing worse than others. Hertz, for instance, filed for bankruptcy protection but is still operating amidst its own financial crisis.

For the time being, it’s business as usual at Hertz and if you feel comfortable renting a car, this latest deal is worth taking a look at.

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The latest offer from Hertz

Hertz is offering a $250 “travel credit” for any reservation made now through Sept. 15, 2020 (car rental pick up must be done by Sept. 22).

According to the terms of the offer, you must rent using CDP #2201740 and you cannot combine with any other offers. You’ll receive the credit redemption instructions after reserving the car.

Interestingly, this is the same credit that is part of the recently announced Hertz Free-To-Go pass, which carries a $99 annual subscription fee and includes home delivery, bonus points and a discount on reservations.

Related reading: Going on road trips this summer? Consider using these credit cards

When $250 is not actually $250

However, don’t get too excited by the notion of $250 in travel credits. While this promotion can be valuable, I would peg its actual worth much lower. The travel credit consists of $100 for hotels, $100 for live events and $50 for dining.

Summer Hull
Hyatt Union Square (Photo by Summer Hull / The Points Guy)

That’s amazing on paper, but as TPG’s Andrew Kunesh explained in his guide to Hertz Free-To-Go pass, this “credit” amount is a bit misleading.

First of all, live events aren’t happening in the foreseeable future. So to me, that has little immediate value. Fortunately, the credit is valid through December 2021.

Secondly, while the hotel credit is great the major issue is selection. On a random night in July, only three hotels could be found in New York City.

Screenshot courtesy of Hertz
Screenshot courtesy of Hertz

Related reading: Credit cards that offer elite status for car rentals

In this search for hotels in New York, nightly rates are actually on par with booking directly through the hotel. Also, you’d forgo any elite benefits you might have by reserving through a third party (if you can actually find a hotel to begin with).

Finally, a $50 Restaurant.com voucher actually only buys you a gift card for a preset value at the restaurant. For instance, a $50 voucher at this Subway location would actually only get you $20. You’re also limited to the restaurants available on the website. Selection, again, is very limited.

Screenshot courtesy of Restaurant.com
Screenshot courtesy of Restaurant.com

When this offer can make sense

With all of that said, there are instances where booking a Hertz rental and taking advantage of this offer can still make sense. If you’re renting a car for a day at a neighborhood Hertz location, the associated credits you receive could be worth even more than the actual cost of the rental itself.

For instance, a one-day rental this summer at a central New Jersey Hertz location is $56. Even if you just make use of the hotel credit alone, you have the potential to come out slightly ahead.

Related reading: Your points, miles and loyalty guide to Hertz car rentals

Bottom line

While this offer isn’t the most lucrative in the world, a quick rental at a neighborhood location could still earn you some valuable perks – even if it’s not the full $250 amount that Hertz advertises. This looks to be a quick cash infusion for Hertz. If you’re comfortable making a booking with the rental car giant right now, it certainly doesn’t hurt to get some benefits added in.

Featured photo by brittneyborowski via Twenty20

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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